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Child malnutrition eliminated in Cuba, In U.S. nearly a quarter of children hungry

By Corey Uhl |
October 1, 2012
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The advances of the Cuban revolution have brought real improvements to people’s lives. A report made by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), titled “Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition,” gave the resilient island country a nod for being the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean to have eliminated malnutrition for children. The report also noted that the Cuban government has vowed to eliminate poverty and reach complete environmental sustainability by 2015, a year which approaches with great strides toward this end already taking place. This is a huge victory for Cubans, as they have faced over five decades of unjust blockade by the U.S. government and constant threats from hurricanes and other natural disasters.

It is clear that the U.S. government might learn a lesson from its neighbor to the south, rather than interfering with the Cubans’ right to determine their own history. Since the U.S. in particular has a Gross Domestic Product of $15 trillion annually and a population of 311 million people, it is worth noting that, as of 2010, nearly one third of the population live in homes that experience hunger. Not only this, but 22% of the children in the U.S. live in poverty. Overall, 14% of the population lives in poverty. This has been on a steady increase since the year 2000.

The state of Florida, being only 90 miles from the city of Havana, Cuba, is noted for having a higher than average rate of food insecure homes in the country, at 16%.

Marisol Marquez, who worked as a teaching assistant in a Tampa elementary school, recalled the experience of teaching one student who was experiencing hunger: “One of my students was born in Mexico and her parents were undocumented. They had left Alabama after the state legislature passed a racist law targeting undocumented people. Despite how hard they worked, they also had problems feeding their children, one of whom was nine-year old Heidi. She always appeared to be starving in class before lunchtime, and so I would help provide her with snacks despite my own hourly wage of $8.25.”

Students like the one above are able to receive a free lunch at the school Ms. Marquez taught at, but only if they filled out several forms. One way the Cuban government has combatted child hunger in their country is through providing free meals (breakfast and lunch) at their schools, for both students and the workers at these institutions. Not only this, but the government also has implemented a program which provides food to homes for those at risk of hunger. Baskets filled with staple foods are delivered weekly to ensure that no child on the island goes without a meal.

4 comments

 
professormasao wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Source of Data on Infant Mortality

My source is the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Population Division, Population Estimates, and Projections section, World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision
Standard variants (Updated: 28 June 2011), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR): Probability of dying between birth and exact age 1. It is expressed as deaths per 1,000 births.

Their web page is Click on the Infant Mortality link and an excel spreadsheet is downloaded. Cuba is in row 194, United States is row 215, the columns are 5 year estimates starting in 1950-1955 and ending in 2005-2010.

 
Anonymous wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Please show where you are

Please show where you are getting your information.
I cannot see anywhere where the claim of UNICEF giving Cuba "a nod" on the ELIMINATION of child malnutirition.
Also, if there is another report by UNICEF other than the one done in 2006, please link it as well.

 
Anonymous wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Infant mortality before the revolution

What's your source? A long time ago I read some statistics which convinced me pre-revolutionary Cuba had a similar health profile to the U.S. and Western Europe.

Cuba's economy is "better" than the U.S.'s, blockade and all. I'd prefer knowing I will always have a job and the necessities of life to having an ipad.

 
professormasao wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Cuba's infant mortality rate is lower than that of the U.S. too.

Cuba's infant mortality rate is also lower than the United States according to the United Nations (and the CIA too, LoL!). Before the revolution Cuba's infant mortality rate was more than twice that of the United States.